tv Charlie Rose PBS July 9, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> o'brien: welcome to the program. i'm miles o'brien from the pbs "newshour" filling in for charlie rose who is away on assignment this week. we begin with dan balz, the chief correspondent for "the washington post." >> it was classic kind of jim comey. he's an independent-minded official and public servant with high respect on both sides of the aisle, and he steered a careful course through all of the mine fields that were laid out in front of him during that hearing. >> o'brien: we continue with jelani cobb with the "new yorker" magazine. >> i think dallas is catastrophic for lots of reasons nversation around policeawho accountability, it becomes infinitely more difficult to have that conversation because, now, we're much more inclined to think about the dangers that
police face, something we should be thinking about, but what we rarely talk about is the danger that is involved in being on the other end of that interaction with the police, and that's not going to happen, at least not for a really long time right now. >> o'brien: we continue with my colleague from the pbs "newshour" hari sreenivasan. >> this is a department that's been working on this, they didn't have that great of track record. per capita, it was worse than a lot of other major cities, but really in the past five or six years they have done as much community policing as possible and made measurable gains. decreased excessive force, overall arrests and most importantly officer-involved shootings. >> o'brien: we conclude with the remembrance of elie wiesel. ththe nobel laureate died satury at age 87. >> we didn't know about
auschwitz. to me, that is the greatest mystery and pain, by the way, that people i admired like roosevelt and churchill, they knew, but we didn't. 1944, a if few weeks before d day. we could have run into the forest and find a hiding place with our maid, a marvelous christian lady, a housekeeper, a maid. but we didn't know. if we had, half of my town, maybe more, would have survived. >> o'brien: dan balz, jelani cobb and hari sreenivasan on the three days of violence and remembering elie wiesel, when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following:
>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> o'brien: turning now to politics. hillary clinton's campaign had hoped that the f.b.i.'s decision not to recommend prosecutions would have closed the book on her use of a private email server. it may have opened a new chapter instead. the state department has reopened its investigation, and a new round of congressional hearings began thursday with f.b.i. director james comey. dan balz has more. he joins me from the offices of "the washington post" where he is the paper's chief correspondent. dan, good to have you. >> thank you, miles. good to be with you. >> o'brien: director comey testifying on the hill. how did it play? >> well, it didn't play very well for secretary clinton,
that's for sure. director comey got a series of very tough questions from reps about how he could square the description of what happened with his ultimate decision not to recommend prosecution, and i think there were some telling moments in that, but i think, overall, it was simply a reminder, as you suggested, that this is an issue that is going to be with us and certainly with secretary clinton through duration of this campaign. in no way did the lack of prosecution close the books on this episode. >> o'brien: director comey was speaking in the language of the law, and, of course, politicians being politicians were speaking politics. one of the members of congress said if the average joe had done what hillary clinton did, he or she would be le lead off in -- d off in handcuffs. mr. comey said, no. walk us through that, if you
would. >> what i think he was trying to say is if you look at the totality of what she did and the question of whether there was willful or malicious intent, that there is no press department for pros -- precedent for prosecuting her under the statute as he examined them, and as he examined similar cases and outcomes, there were nothing to suggest that she could or should be prosecuted under. this i thought one of the interesting foments, frankly, is when he was asked and did compare this to what happened with general petraeus and outlined a series of things general petraeus had done in which he deliberately handed over classified material to his paramour and biographer and knew this was classified and knew what he was doing was wrong and, at another point, lied to the government about it, and he said that this was different than what secretary clinton had done. now, he also made clear that
many of the things or some of the things, at least, that secretary clinton has said over the course of the last year and some months were not accurate statements about her use of the private server or whether she had engaged in moving classified material back and forth with her advisor. so it was classic kind of jim comey. i mean, he's an independent-minded official and public servant with high respect on both sides of the aisle, and he steered a careful course through all of the mind fields that were -- mine fieldsate laid out in front of him during that hearing. >> o'brien: so people are clear on this, as i understand it, she had to know that what she did was against the law, breaking the law and, in this case, i guess, ignorance of the law is a defense? >> o'brien: well, i guess it is certainly a partial defense
and enough, certainly, that the f.b.i. director and the career prosecutors who led this investigation, as he said, came to the unanimous conclusion that no reasonable prosecutor would take this case forward and, as we know, the attorney general, loretta lynch, had already in advance of what jim comey had to say, had taken herself effectively out of the decision-making process because -- well, she announced it after her ill-fated meeting with bill clinton on the tarmac in phoenix, but she said she had made that decision some time ago. so this ultimately was one that was all in the hands to have the career pros -- hands of the career prosecutors and jim comey. >> o'brien: to be clear, there is little doubt at this juncture that classified material was e-mailed through that server. that's a fact, right? >> that is a clear fact, yes. some that was top secret, some that was secret, and some that
was coffi coffin confidential. >> o'brien: how does this play in the court of public opinion? >> partisan decisions will determine a lot about how people respond to this, but i think there is, as the republicans put forward in the session with director comey and also many of the things they had to say outside that arena that there is a belief that in one way or another justice was not being done in this case that she got special treatment. the director said that was certainly not the case, but i think the average person or certainly the average person who is not a fan of hillary clinton's will believe that, in one way or another, that she did get special treatment, that she, in one way or another, was above the law. jim comey went to some lenghts to try to knock that down, but i don't think he will change a lot of minds on that of people who
came into this with a feeling that this was kind of an inside deal from start to finish. >> o'brien: so, and, of course, donald trump tweeting who he frequently calls her crooked hillary clinton, now she's lying crooked hillary clinton, instantly this gets injected into the political discourse and in some sense the facts kind of get lost, don't they? >> oh, the facts certainly will get lost. but this was an issue that was bound to be a centerpiece of donald trump's campaign, no matter how the f.b.i. came out in its judgment on what should be done in terms of prosecuting secretary clinton. i had a conversation quite a while ago with an official in the trump campaign, and we were talking about this. their conclusion from the start was that this was, in many ways, a win-win for trump and his campaign.
first win would be if she had been prosecuted, which would have potentially cost her the nomination, but even in the absence of that, their view was they could easily describe this as a whitewash and what donald trump had to say coming out of the decision-making by the f.b.i. was very much in keeping with that and he will continue to press that. people have been arguing about the facts of this case, they will be arguing about the conclusions of the f.b.i. between now and election day without any let up. >> o'brien: so bernie sanders said it last winter, i i guess it was, are people tired of hearing about hillary clinton's damn e-mails? >> well, some people are and some people aren't, but i think that that reflects the deeper division we have in our politics right now. you know, it's not just hillary clinton's e-mails, it's a variety of things in which people come to conclusions in part on the basis of where their
partisan leanings stand. this is one example of this. this is a very high profile example of this. this is a very controversial example of this, but it is not a singular example of it, and i think we will see that in a variety of ways as we go forward in the campaign, miles. >> o'brien: let's look ahead just a moment and see how much more we will be hearing about the e-mails. members of congress to ask director comey to launch an investigation as to whether hillary clinton might have lied to congress, and then there is this that the state department announced it would begin its investigation now which waited for all of this to transpire. what shoes are we going to see dropping, do you think? >> well, it is possible that, with a referral from congress, there will be an investigation into whether what hillary clinton testified to during the benghazi hearings when she was under oath last fall is contradicted by the evidence. the director said they had not looked at that, that they had
not had a referral from congress, and the chairman of the committee said you will get a referral very quickly. so that will be one possible avenue of continuation of this. the second is what the state department is going to begin to do. one thing we know, and director comey said this any number of times in any number of ways, that not just secretary clinton but others who were handling this classified material in an unclassified environment on the private server could have their security clearances reviewed, and these are senior advisors to hillary clinton. if their clearances are, you know, eliminated, that puts them in a totally different situation in their ability to advise her, not simply during the campaign, but if she were to become president and she wanted them around her as senior advisors at the white house or the state department or wherever. so there is potential consequence yet to happen on
this. paul ryan, speaker of the house, said she should not get classified briefings as a candidate because of this. i doubt that will happen, but, nonetheless, you can see where kind of the drum beat, particularly from republicans, is going to increase over that there should be some kind of penalty to those who have been found to be engaging in this, as comby said -- comey said, extremely careless handling of the material. >> o'brien: i want to put you in the role as advisor to hillary clinton. what would you tell her to get out in front of this? >> well, i think her sense is this is going to be an issue no matter what she says. she has been grudging at best in coming forward with information throughout this process. she has only done it when it has been, in a sense, politically necessary. i remember last -- late last summer when the email issue was clearly hurting her in the campaign, she finally began to talk about it and to talk about
it in a more contrite way. but it has been remarkable that she has really had nothing to say about this. it seemingly demands some answers from her. she has nod had a formal press conference in months and months and months. she has done individual interviews on television, certainly, but not done a general press conference. she's going to have to answer a lot of questions about this, no doubt about that. >> o'brien: this controversy is like my email box, keeps filling up. dan balz, "the washington post," thank you for your time. >> you're welcome. thank you, miles. >> o'brien: the dallas protest is one of several nationwide that had been called following the shooting deaths this week of alton sterling and philando castile. the men, both black, were killed by police in separate incidents that were both caught on camera. with me is jelani cobb of the "new yorker" magazine to talk
about. this such a horrifying week, it's hard to put words to it. you've attempted. you talk about the layer cake of horrible issues that is involved in this, and the first one that comes to mind, of course, is race. and, you know, the governor of minnesota said it wouldn't have happened if that had been a white person in that car. do you believe that? >> oh, yeah, i do. or at least it's far less likely to have happened. one of the things that happens with police shootings in this country is we have a large number of them, disproportionate number of them that affect people of color but, in the aggregate, the majority of people shot fatally by police each year are white. so it means we have a twofold problem. one is that there is a great deal of police shootings that happen in the country, and a disproportionate number of them that happen with communities of color and people of color, but even we took all the african-americans and latinos out of that equation, for the total number of police shootings, we would still have violence happening at rates that
would horrify most western democracies. in the short term, it's much more likely that the person -- this happens when there's a person of color in that vehicle. >> o'brien: you mentioned the word horrified because it is horrifying what we've witnessed and yet it goes on. there's a sense of inertia here, i think. how can we possibly at this point start working toward some kind of solution, a dialogue, a conversation? you wrote about that, that idea of initiating a conversation. where does that conversation begin? >> i think we're having conversations. seems to me that's all we're doing is having conversations. but there'd been an attempt, i think, to create some kind of groundswell for reform around guns or to have reform around police training or these sorts of things. now it seems, of course, in the wake of what happened in dallas that that conversation will
change dramatically and drastically. >> o'brien: how much does dallas change the whole equation? "black lives matter" is a movement. i think we can say that up to this point. does that stop it? >> i think dallas is catastrophic, and for lots of reasons, and certainly for people who are interested in having a conversation around police accountability, it becomes infinitely more difficult to have that conversation because now we're much more inclined to think about the dangers police face, something we should be thinking about, but what we rarely talk about is the danger that is involved in being on the other end of that interaction with the police, and that's not going to happen, at least not for a really long time right now. >> o'brien: by all accounts, dallas police, we are told, were judicious in their use of force, racially sensitive, all the things we would hope to expect out of a big-city police department. there's a bit of irony here. >> there is.
actually, there are two ironies. when we look at the philando castile situation in minnesota, he did what a motorist is supposed to do, he followed the best protocol, the best practices. when he's pulled over, he tells the person he has a license, a firearm in the car and is licensed to carry it, and from what we know right now, it culminates in him being shot fatally. >> o'brien: which compounds the horror. >> right. >> o'brien: he was doing textbook. >> doing the right thing. on the other hand, hearing from people during the march yesterday before the shooting broke out, people were saying there was a very heavy police presence, but there was a pretty good rapport between the demonstrators and police and it seemed to be calm, not a great deal of tension. in both cases, you see people following what might be the best practice force this and still wind up with the worst case scenario. >> o'brien: so do we begin with guns, with retraining
police, do we begin with condemnations of violence? none of it seems to work. >> it doesn't. but here's the interesting kind of commonality. when we were looking at what happened in baton rouge with alton sterling, who was shot fatally by a police officer, possibly shot by two officers, on tuesday, and then looking at the situation with philando castile in minnesota and ten looking at the situation in dallas, the common thread here is guns. one, when police talk about the dangers implies it in their work, they're talking about dealing with a very heavily-armed public. and when people say, well, this person overreacted or is antsy, the fact is they are confronting realities in which they're much more likely to be dealing with an armed person than their counterpart in most other western countries and, on the other side of it, if we're going to have a second amendment, this
is almost an object lesson in its inapplicablability to other communities, wherein the idea that a person has a weapon generates a, you know, fatal response from law enforcement, this is not -- i think it points us in the direction saying we need to have meaningful reform in our relationship with weapons. one other point that i'll say about this is, if this is correct, that there is one shooter that was involved in dallas, then we have to ask ourselves, is it reasonable for the average citizen to have access to a firearm that can hit 12 police officers, the 12 trained law enforcement officers before they have a chance to respond. >> o'brien: it's a difficult question given the constitutional protections, and i've got to say, we talk about a groundswell, you can pull people
and there is a willingness to change the status quo when it comes to guns, but we don't see anything like that in congress. >> we don't. we saw just before the fourth of july vacation that, you know, there was the congressional sit-in and kind of mustered a great deal of moral standing and john lewis, the former civil rights hero was involved in this, but the demands were pretty tepid considering the scale of the problem we have here, more background checks and, you know, refusal to allow people on the "no fly" list to have weapons. what's interesting is when we talk about the major gun reform bill recently, in recent history the 1994 bill, and we talk about it as the high-water mark in terms of gun reform.
but when you go back and look at the language used in 1994, both from journalists covering this and politicians advocating and voting for it, they viewed the 1994 bill as a starting place, not a finishing place. >> o'brien: and, of course, nothing has happened since to continue that conversation. >> no. >> o'brien: you know, that's kind of a long-term issue. let's talk short-term for just a moment. you get the sense that we've got a bit of tinderbox in this country right now. how concerned are you about just what's going to happen in the near-term future and what can be done to sort of calm things down on all sides? >> we have a lot of summer ahead of us. i think any reasonable person would be worried these tensions can be further inflamed, and if we had a trench of division between us previously, with we have a canyon now. i think that, in the very short term, there has to be some sort of gesture from the top that
people are very serious about doing something in relationship to guns. i think it's also important for people to make it clear that we are still interested in continuing these efforts toward police accountability, because there is a feedback loop here. the public feels jeopardized by police officers who may be too quick with the firearm and the police officers feel jeopardized by a public that is heavily armed, and as long as we're in the cycle, the loop, we won't find ourselves outside of it. >> o'brien: the highest level, the president? >> certainly the. , the congress, the senate, the house, they all have it within their capacity to do something on this. >> o'brien: do you hold out much hope? >> cautious optimism is appropriate that we have the capacity to make change. it doesn't necessarily happen quickly, even in dire circumstances. but if you don't have any optimism, there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning.
>> o'brien: good point. let's talk for a moment about the media's role in all this. you wrote a little bit about this, the way this is covered particularly on the cable networks. i think in one case one network was comparing it to 9/11. >> o'brien: severa9/11. several did. there is a great deal of hyperbolic language around this. it's still troubling and, you know, to compare what happened in dallas, saying this is the worst terrorist assault on law enforcement since 9/11, it does a number of things -- one, it kind of leaves you with the impression that 9/11 was meant to attack law enforcement officers. it was not meant to do that. it was a general attack on america itself, on every aspect of the population. but beyond that, it kind of places us in the context of external terrorism and things
that are happening on a grand scale. it is completely within our power to have done something about this before it happened, self-inflicted wound from aways really inert political class that has not done anything about guns in this country. >> o'brien: when you talk about 9/11, what happened accidently was the war on terror. when you talk in those terms, it gets scary. >> that's right. what happens in these moments is there is a tendency or temptation to forgo the constitution in exchange for the feeling of security and safety, which is exactly what you're not supposed to do in these times. >> o'brien: and that gets injected almost immediately into the political process and gets amplified by certain candidates themselves. >> we saw this in orlando. look at how this was immediately -- there's about five minutes of grief, and then it became a political fight. even the way it was discussed by the current republican nominee, the presumptive nominee was in a way that exacerbated the
divisions that we were seeing. so i think that this is something that we should be better at dealing with by now unfortunately. >> o'brien: "black lives matter," but words matter, too. do you think we're a little reckless with our words collectively? >> what i think is interesting -- >> o'brien: yourself excluded, of course. >> what i think is interesting is i just read a statement that came from "black lives matter" when i was on my way over here, and they were very stringent in the denunciations of what had happened. but i think there is also a dynamic that we've seen in the media where any voice of dissent, if you're african-american, is conflated with being "black lives matter." my nephew attended a protest. he happened to have been concerned about some things donald trump said, and he attended a protest at his
college, and he said later on the news, they said "black lives matter" protests donald trump. he said, i had no idea we were part of "black lives matter" until the news station told us i think there is a con flags that happens in this discussion. there's superheated rhetoric that goes on in lots of the corners of this country. it's hard to make a one-on-one relationship of what's being said and done, especially when you see people who are troubled have access to firearms, you don't know exactly what it is that pushes them into action, but i think the rhetoric doesn't help. >> o'brien: let's talk about the cameras for a moment. we're watching these horrible tragedies unfold before our very eyes, live streaming capability in our hands, and, on the other side, you have police with the body cameras on. on the one hand, you get the sense that we're seeing something that's just been going on for a long time or we're finally seeing it, but to what
extent do you think it is altering reality in some sense. do you think it does? >> i think it does, but like many things, it's complicated. when we were working on the documentary we did on "frontline," a number of officers were looking forward to having body cameras because they thought the camera would resolve instances when they had been wrongly accused of excessive force or doing something they didn't do and thought the body camera would be a protection for them. there were officers that felt that way. at the same time, the visuals we've seen most recently in baton rouge and minnesota, i think they have a kind of exacerbating effect. one, things that have been happening for a long time, were disputed for a long time, we've cast doubt on people bringing
claims for a long time, but there is something about bringing a video witness to what's happening and almost transforms the general public into a collective eyewitness of what happened in. the case of mr. castile, this woman is narrating what is happening while a police officer is holding a gun to her and her loved one is dying in front of her. >> o'brien: and she's calm and the officer is not. >> she's calm and the officer is not. the exact opposite of what you might expect in a situation where someone sees their fiancée shot and they become hysterical and the professional person, you know, their training kicks in and they become calm. that's not what happened in this circumstance. the more terrible idea here is perhaps she was driven by a concern that she not do anything
that night trigger him to fire again and also there is a 4-year-old girl that's in the car. all of it compounds into something that's too horrible to really think about. >> o'brien: let's talk about the political system as we get to the end here. the fundamental lack of faith in the system, donald trump talking about the system being rigged, reinforcing the people's belief the system is not it in for them, the fact there is so little faith in the system, how much does this add to the toxic nature of this? >> i think it's interesting. i think there are many people who have legitimate grievous about the -- grievances about the way our economy and politics work now after the great recession and housing crisis, there was a justifiable and reasonable loss of faith in the institutions, something that had been going on for many years, actually going back generations to watergate we've seen this
erosion in trust in institutions and i think that's one problem. the second problem is that you can use that skepticism or that erosion and siphon it off away from the possibility of actual substantial change into demagogic directions, wherein you indulge the worst ideas. we go back and read madison or tokeville or anybody who looked at this country at the outset, this is something they were concerned about, when you have a representative democracy, you have to have a population that's wise enough to discern between the actual course of action and what's being presented by demagogic figures that take advantage of that. >> o'brien: how dangerous is it if nothing happens out of this? where do we go next?
>> i think that's the most dangerous possibility of all that we acclimate ourselves and bequeath to our children a world fraught with these dangers we had in our capacity to address and did nothing. i'm an historian and i think in those terms history will not look kindly upon us for that. >> o'brien: author and historian jelani cobb, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> o'brien: the issues of guns, policing and race have all come together to dominate the news this week. one suspect is dead and three others in custody as the investigation continues in dallas where police were ambushed following a peaceful "black lives matter" protest. five officers are also dead and six are wounded. here now from dallas is my colleague hari sreenivasan of the pbs "newshour". hari, bring us up to date. there's been a lot of confusion in the wake of this, understandably, about whether there was one person who acted alone or multiple suspects.
what do we know? >> well, right now, jeh johnson from the department of homeland security says there was no reason to believe this was part of a languager international terror plot or if this individual was connected to any black nationalist organizations. that said, the dallas police arrested or has in custody a few more suspects and they haven't actually given us any more information on how those suspects may be tied into this. >> o'brien: any indication of whether there will be further arrests or is that it as far as arrests go, do we know? >> no, they haven't said that yet. they're trying to follow every lead. they're not convinced whoever they have are innocent or guilty. they want more information and they want to figure out how this happened. >> o'brien: the suspect demonstrated capability, presumably, from his military training. >> yeah, you know, when they went into his house, authorities
say they found a detailed combatman yule in his home -- combat manual in his home and bombmaking materials, this is something the individual planned for some time. >> o'brien: that's interesting because the protest wasn't planned out for some time. does it appear he was waiting for an event? >> that's a possibility because he had said to the police yesterday he was interested in killing white people and specifically killing police officers, so perhaps this was an opportunity to know that police would be on the streets essentially walking with the protesters and protecting them and, in fact, the police yesterday were not in their riot gear. most were in standard uniforms, didn't have bullet-proof vests phon. this wasn't an event where they expected the protests to turn violent.
>> o'brien: that's part of the way the dallas police department operated. it's well known for being racially sensitive and judicious in use of force, led by an african-american. there is horrible irony here, isn't there? >> there is. you know, this is a department that's been working on this. they didn't have that great track record. per capita, it was worse than a lot of other major cities, but in the past five or six years, they have done as much community-oriented policing as possible and have made measurable gains. they've decreased the number of complaints of excessive use of force, they've decreased the number of overall arrests and they've also, importantly, decreased the number of officer-involved shootings. >> o'brien: hari, i know you've only been there a short time but you are a former resident of dallas. what's it been like being back under these very difficult circumstances? >> it's a very change thing. i lived here a few years and just behind me, downtown is essentially one large crime
scene. there is an enormous set of blocks where you would normally have the financial center of the city. it's all but empty right now. there is more of us, meaning reporters, than outnumbering citizens. you drive by and see reporters talking about how empty they are. >> o'brien: watch for hari's reporting all throughout the weekend from dallas. thank you. we'll be right back. >> thank you. elie wiesel, holocaust survivor and human rights about visit died saturday following a long illness. he was 87 years old. wiesel was 15 when he was sent to auschwitz camp in 1934 and freed in 1945 from another camp. he wrote about his painful experience in "night."
in '78, president carter appointed wiesel chairman of the commission on the holocaust, leading to the establishment to have the united states holocaust memorial museum in washington in. 1986 wiesel was awarded the nobel peas prize with wiesel called an important spiritual leader. wiesel was a guest of charlie over a dozen times over the years. here's a look back at some of those conversations. >> first of all, i would like to show the tragedy of a person who is not only a victim of his own sickness but of injustice. there are things that we remember and, therefore, others also remember. what about the things we don't remember? for every face that i see before me, there must have been hundreds that have vanished. for every word i want to say, there must have been ten i don't say. for every episode i lived through or imagined, how many are there that nobody could ever
know that they ever existed in my mind? >> rose: is it a powerful emotion in you that the time will come in which there will be no one who lived through the holocaust to tell and is still telling their story? >> that has been in my case surely the most profound anguish i ever had. what will i feel if i'm the last survivor? and i wrote about it in some of my books of that fear. what is it? i will have to say i am a witness. when i say i, i mean anyone else, of course, in my case. we are here. we are alive and, really, today, many people don't believe us. >> rose: many? many. first of all, there are those vicious, ugly anti-seemitis who
see it doesn't happen. if a human being who is normal would not believe this is normal and therefore he could get away with anything. >> rose: when you created this character, tell me the story you wanted to tell to bring these profound ideas to a novel form. >> well, the novel is actually between the father and son. >> rose: right. all of pi bogs, there is always -- all of my books, there is that situation, father and son. >> rose: obligation, responsibility. >> and to communicate something. the father, his life, his fear of life, his happiness in life, his joy, his sadness, his memory. what am i without my memory? what are you without yours? in all of my books, i have that situation. even in the bible, abraham and
isaac. >> rose: here he wants his son to go back to rumania. >> he's sending him back because -- at one point, i stopped because i couldn't end it. i wanted to end it with something good and say something positive and i couldn't find anything. there is nothing after alzheimer. there is only darkness and total fear and anger in and around the person because the person cannot explain what he wants, what she wants, and, therefore, the people around, those who loved him before and still love him don't know what to do. in this case, what i found is that the only redemption or the only redeeming possibility for the father is to say, okay, my son, now you remember for me. >> rose: you touch base with my memory? >> you receive my memory. it's kind of a transfusion of memory. just as there is a transfusion of blood, there is a transfusion of memory. that doesn't mean you will leave my life, it means you will be a
continuation of my life. >> rose: so i want you, my son, to burrow yourself into my life, then you will receive my memory. you go and meet the people that were part of what shaped me and are part of my memory and my past for better and for worse, and that will understand and help you define yourself? >> that means you cannot be what you are unless you know what i am. >> rose: and the message for all of us beyond the holocaust? >> i have written more than 30 books and only three or four deal with that period. >> rose: why do we all think of you as so -- we define you that way, almost. >> i know. >> rose: that's how we define you. >> i know. you put me in a certain category. >> rose: yes, we do. it's difficult to break away from it. >> rose: does it make you angry, frustrated, what? >> no, i say to myself, i were i
had written more. the problem is you cannot, there are no words. i'm always afraid i will use the wrong words and, therefore, i am so careful. i was waiting ten years before i began writing about this period. >> rose: because you said before, you waited ten years because -- >> i was afraid i would not find the right words. >> rose: because no words could -- >> go ahead. >> rose: no words that can define the horror. >> no words for that experience. finally, finally the enemy has succeeded in doing something which no one has ever done, not even god, to do something and not to have words for it. he deprived the victim of a language to describe the victimhood of the victim. >> rose: why did you go back and why did you go back now? >> why go back? 50 years after, i had a feeling that maybe the child that was there is still there, and i wanted to see that the place
remained the same place, whether he had absorbed something of our anguish, whether the sky was the same, the trees the same. so i did go back. >> rose: what did you find? oh, i found silence in me and pain and outrage. >> rose: pain from memory? pain because, after all, my father died there, and between the death of my father and my liberation, i was there but didn't know it. then liberation came, the american army liberated us. i left. i did not go back. it was in eastern germany. and i go back now and i see what i see. it hurts. i'll give you an example.
there were two camps. one was a camp for political prisoners, jews and non-jews. at the end, when auschwitz was evacuated, we were taken to a small camp and a large camp. we were in the small camp, the large camp was mainly for political prisoners. the camp where i was is no longer there. it simply vanished. so i was going around there seeing nothing but trees, grass, sky, and the barracks disappeared. everything disappeared. i was wondering, what remained there, the anguish, the agony, the pain of thousands and thousands of human beings, what happened to that pain? as for outrage, how can i say
that? i learned that in the camp, they are now building a kind of memorial to the nazi prisoners of the russians, because afterwards the americans left, the russians came, and they maintained the camp for five years as a camp for former nazis, low-ranking nazis. many of them died. so now it somehow doesn't fit in my mind, a place that was, so to speak, immortalized by the victims of naziism, now is becoming also a place honoring the memory of nazis, victims of others, of russians.
there is something wrong there. >> rose: you worry that the memory of the holocaust has been lost, at the same time that we have holocaust -- >> look, you and i were together at the inauguration of the museum in washington, and i have been involved with it for some years. it's important, all these memories have to be kept, must be kept somewhere and, therefore, the archives are very important. however, deep down, i am not sure whether we are not losing the war of memory. maybe it's because of the years, soon to be decades, and then centuries, that i am not sure that what we want people to remember will be remembered. >> rose: how do you preserve the memory other than ways that have already been -- measures
that have already been taken? >> i wish i knew. usually through pictures, art, words. >> rose: it's all there. it's not all there. that's the whole thing. for first time, we are trying to remember something that defies memory because we are using tools that were adequate for other tragedies, for other events, but not this one. i have written books and i can tell you, each time i finished a book, i felt a taste of ashes in my mouth. >> rose: why? because i felt it's not it. it's still not it. what i wanted to say, i didn't say. >> rose: has anybody said it, you think, because it is incomprehensible to human -- >> it cannot be said. maybe the documents and the diaries written by the
prisoners, the ones burning the corpses, th the diaries found in the ashes, maybe they convey a certain fragment of the truth. we can not. there are no words and therefore no images. there is nothing. all we can do is try. we are trying. maybe the effort will be made. i hope it will be made. i don't compare kosovo to auschwitz. nobody ever should do that because it's not the same thing. tragedies should never be compared. there are no analogies in sufferings of such magnitude, surely not. i went to six or seven camps and in the tens of thousands of men and women and children, you listen to them, and what they have to say breaks your heart because there is something about the way that tell the stories, especially those who were tortured, and some of us are terribly sensitive to torture. psychiatrists say a tortured person will all his or her life remain tortured. that's what it is. it leaves a scar, and there already people who were
tortured, and they began talking. it's a kind of process. they began talking and then they stopped in the middle of a sentence because they were looking for the right words and didn't find them, and they began crying. i have rarely seen so many adults weep, sob like children. the children don't cry. the children were laughing and playing and singing, and a i don't know what hurt me more, what was more painful to see, the laughter of the children or the tears of the parents. so i came back with stories. i collected stories after stories. i listened and listened and listened. i asked people sometimes -- never, never sharp questions. they suffered enough. why should they suffer? but gently i tried to make them
talk. one old man says, 180 men, prisoners, were shot. two men survived. i am one of the two. and then he stopped for a minute and he said, my son was among the others. and that's it. and began crying. a young man who is a volunteer working for the i.r.c. in a camp, he, too, was a prisoner, and he had seen the murder of his brother, and he began talking about it and stopped in the middle and couldn't continue. and i understand that. and tragedy is too painful, too deep, too all-encompassing. for some reason the words are failing us. we don't find the words. so the tears become words. >> rose: so you listened to the stories, one after the other and you see the tears.
>> yeah. >> rose: and you see a why have that saw her -- and you see a wife that saw her husband taken away, never to be seen again. who saw a son -- >> the prisoner who suffered most, the last time they saw their families, children, parents or wives, sisters and brothers were when they were taken to prison, and that, for them, is the worst torture of all. they could withstand physical torture but not that torture. they don't know. one man said he had in his hand a two--- a 2-month-old baby and the military took it away, dropped it to the ground and he hadn't seen the child or mother again. he doesn't know if they are alive. so the stories remain in the middle, half-completed. >> rose: why do you think this happened? >> oh, charlie, we have talked
about these matters many times. i don't know why. what is it about a human being who tries to prove his or her humanity by causing pain to another human being. >> rose: is it their humanity they're trying to show or are they showing their fear or something else? >> maybe they try to show something that in this century it is human to be human. >> rose: human to be inhuman? yeah. >> rose: but in the end, it is, if you look at that kind of rule and obscenity, it is, in fact, inhuman and it's a rage that takes them beyond all rationality. >> they place themselves outside the human condition. i would not like to think of them as human beings, except to the fact that some human beings are inhuman and therefore we must fight them and condemn them. >> rose: you still have written at the beginning of this that you are reluctant to talk about the past. >> not about the past, about that past, because i don't know
how -- it's difficult to be personal. i don't like to speak about my suffering. i speak about other people's suffering. i work in human rights, meant to speak about other people's agony, imprisonment, victimhood and not mine. therefore, i don't speak about it. in my lectures, i speak about philosophy, literature, history, but not about my past. >> rose: what do the people in your town say and remember about the coming of the nazis? >> oh, i was too young to remember everything, and i was too involved in religious studies, biblical studies, so i didn't pay attention to topics of the day, but people were not really that concerned because we in rumania, later in hungary, we had it good, despite the
antisemitism that existed everywhere. we knew an anti-semite hates jews, so what. we survived that, too. until the germans came into our town in march 19, 1944. >> rose: but people know exactly when everything changed. the powerful stories of watching a synagogue being burned, and people standing around not doing anything mainly to prevent the fire from spreading. >> that we knew in germany when they burned about synagogues but we didn't know about auschwitz. that is the greats mystery and pain, by the way. there were people i admired like roosevelt and churchill, for instance, they knew but we didn't. 1944, a few weeks before d-day, charlie, we could have run into
the forest and we could have found a hiding place with our maid, a marvelous christian lady, but a housekeeper, a maid, but we didn't know. if we had known, half of my town, maybe more, would have survived. >> o'brien: elie wiesel did at 87. >> rose: for more about this program and earlier episodes, visivisit us online at pbs.org d charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications
this is nightly business report with tyler mathson and >> massive rebound. american businesses ramped up hiring, alleviating fears the economy is sagging and sending the s&p 500 just shy of a record close. job growth is back. fed on hold. volatility collapsing. is this the perfect scenario for investor? >> you'll me entrepreneurs using social media to serve political discussions. toni niktly business report for fr good evening, everyone and welcome. stocks touch all time highs and for that, you can thank a blowout jobs report. the employment numbers for jun